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Working from home in construction. Is it possible?

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has had to shift the way it does business to address the needs of a workforce confined at home.

While construction sites stand empty, your business doesn’t stop and there is a plethora of administrative and management activity that needs to carry on to ensure the continuity of your business. So, what do you need to accomplish business continuity?

From communication issues to sharing accurate project information and monitoring the state of a workforces well-being; the challenges of creating a cohesive work-from-home environment can seem overwhelming.

With so many variables to consider, here are several ways a company can guarantee both the productivity and happiness of its employees by implementing readily available solutions designed for individuals working from home.

Communicate clearly

The simple truth is if employees can’t communicate a company’s output will suffer. Fortunately, with the right platforms in place, every employee will be able to maintain the same level of communication they would experience in the office.

A myriad of solutions are available to help achieve this reality; from real-time communications (Slack) and timekeeping (Clockify) to video conferencing (Skype, Zoom) and unified communication and collaboration platforms (Microsoft Teams). Researching these options and implementing them in a timeous manner is the first step to helping your workforce stay productive while working from home.

Invest in solid IT support

Having chosen a suitable communication solution, maintaining the infrastructure that supports it is paramount. Ensuring your employees have a secure and robust data network will be your IT provider’s primary function; maintaining the bricks and mortar (if you will) that form the backbone of your work-from-home VPN network.

Stay connected and caring

Co-workers who aren’t accustomed to working from home require support structures that address the concerns and needs associated with their new work-from-home lifestyle. Be it support via email, instant messaging or conference calling; managers and executives need to be more hands-on and concerned with the well-being of their employees. In lock-down, the question, How are you doing? is as important as meeting a deadline.

Work from the same page

Cloud-based software is one of the greatest tools to ensure your teams are all working from the same information pool. The real-time nature of these solutions ensures that your employees, regardless of their locations or time zones, can always share information, negating a loss in accuracy and productivity.

Downtime? Up-skill

With reduced workloads, there’s never been a better time for companies to up-skill their employees. Just search online and you’ll find a multitude of courses and webinars that cover a variety of subjects. Existing service providers will be looking to support you in these times with online training and consulting at competitive prices. Using their downtime wisely, your employees can learn new skill sets or expand their existing knowledge base.

Your home office

Where and how an employee works will have a huge impact on the quality of their work. Here are some points to remember. They should:

  • Work as ergonomically as possible, in a location with natural light and fresh air that is free from distractions.
  • Take a break. The trap of working from home is feeling the need to always be available. In an office, workers are in motion talking to each other, having lunch and so on. Mimicking this routine is crucial to avoiding fatigue when working from home. For this reason, employees should step away from their keyboards every few hours and move around for at least 10 – 15 minutes before working again.
  • Create a dedicated workspace equipped with the right tools to suit their needs. This will allow for greater productivity while creating separation from the job when taking a break or shutting down for the day. Employees should ensure that where they work is not where they relax, eat or sleep. Being able to leave work is a must, so ensure your employees have a specific time when they knock off.

Everyone is on the same team

This may sound obvious, but it is important to remember that each employee in a company will adjust to the lock-down at their own pace. Exercising patience and trust will allow for a cohesive work environment while reducing stress. Ultimately, with the right infrastructure in place, working from home will only change the chair you sit in rather than your workflow.

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